Coronavirus may feel daunting, especially for older people, vulnerable people with health conditions and pregnant women. Everyone is asked to strictly stay at home to help slow the spread of the virus. This applies to everyone and there are four key reasons where people are allowed to go outside their homes. This guidance is especially important for people aged over 70, anyone with long-term health problems and those who are pregnant. In addition some people with certain clinical conditions are being 'shielded' and told they must not go out of their homes at all.
Staying at home
Everyone is now being told by the government to stay at home. People should only leave the house for one of four reasons: Shopping for food or medicine as infrequently as possible; one form of exercise per day; a medical need or to care for an older or vulnerable person or travelling to and from work – but only where this absolutely can’t be done from home.
When you are outside the home you need to make sure that you are socially distancing – ensuring you are two metres apart from anyone else.
Older people aged over 70, people with long term health conditions and pregnant women are being advised to avoid going out except to exercise. You should ask someone to help you by collecting food shopping or medication, if possible.
See the governments full guidance on staying at home and away from others - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others
More guidance from the government about social distancing is available online.
People with some clinical conditions are being advised to shield themselves completely and stay totally inside at home for 12 weeks. More guidance around shielding and protecting vulnerable people.
People who have coronavirus symptoms are asked to self-isolate to protect others. Symptoms are either a new continuous cough (coughing repeatedly) or a high temperature where you feel hot to touch on your chest or back. If you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms. This means completely avoiding work, school, other public places and not using public transport or taxis. This also means asking others to help buy food and other essentials. You can go outside for the purpose of exercise but keep a safe distance between yourself and others.
More guidance from the government about self isolating is available online.
An army of people and services are working around the clock to support older and vulnerable people and put new measures in place to ensure that no vulnerable person in our community is left unsupported.
You can find out more information about what you can do to help older or vulnerable people in your community at Dudley CVS coronavirus webpage.
If someone you know is staying at home you can help by:
- Picking up the phone to have a chat or use social media and email to keep in contact
- Offering to pick up food or other supplies like repeat prescriptions and leave them on the doorstep
- Helping someone to set up an online delivery service or do a shop on their behalf
- Checking the latest information from NHS and Government websites and update them
If you are staying at home here are some things to consider to help you stay safe and well and protect others:
Looking after your mental wellbeing
Social distancing and self-isolating can be boring and frustrating. It can affect your mood and you might miss being outside with other people. Here are some useful tips:
Information for people who care for a family member or a friend
If you care for a family member or friend the government have suggested these simple steps to protect them and to reduce your risk:
- Wash your hands
- If you sneeze or cough don’t forget to ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’
- Try and keep a distance of two meters or three steps away from the person you care for
- If you are unwell, make other arrangements for care of the person that you care for. You need to plan this in advance ideally
- Make sure the person you care for has the information they need about who they should call if they feel unwell, for example NHS 111
- Look after your own wellbeing and physical health
- Contact Dudley Carer’s Hub on 01384 818723 for advice and support during the coronavirus outbreak
Remember that social distancing and self-isolation won’t last forever. They are just temporary steps to look after ourselves and protect others.
If you are pregnant, there’s lots of information on a healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding support available at Let's Get Healthy. If you are pregnant and worried about coronavirus you can find specific, expert advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
From 28 weeks of pregnancy your midwife can sign you up to a free text service called Flo which will send you texts during your pregnancy and up to six weeks after your baby is born with useful tips and information. If you’d like to know more about Flo have a look at our introduction to Flo video.
Make sure you are also getting informed and prepared for breastfeeding by visiting the Dudley Health Visitors Facebook page and finding out about Dudley Volunteer Breastfeeding Buddies.
While many people are looking out for others in the community, a small minority are looking to profit from coronavirus. In recent weeks Action Fraud have seen reports about coronavirus themed scam emails attempting to trick people into revealing sensitive personal and financial information.
Protect yourself by making sure you:
- Don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious emails
- Don’t respond to unsolicited messages asking for personal or financial information
- Research a company before making payments online and always use a credit card not a debit card
- Keep in contact with loved ones
- Do not reveal sensitive personal and financial information
- If you suspect a bogus caller operating in your area contact the dedicated out of hours Bogus Caller Hotline on 01384 812045 or the Dudley Scams Unit on 01384 818871